Afghan Women’s Educational Center’s (AWEC in 1991)
Afghan have lived with war since 1979. The conflict continues today. Over three million people, mostly women and children, had to seek refuge in neighboring countries. A large number of Afghans came to Islamabad, Pakistan.They came from many different backgrounds, some from very poor families. Others from the middle class, came to Islamabad because most of them wanted education for their children, especially for their girls.Afghans lost their homes, their family members, their jobs, their friends, their culture. One of the greatest losses has been education. A generation has grown up uneducated. Even before the war, education was very limited, especially for girls and women.
Farida was an English teacher in Afghanistan, but couldn’t get a job in Pakistan. She came to our Center and took our computer class. She learned word processing, data base and spread sheets. She was able to get a better paying job in an international office.
English Classes were very popular in those days. In Pakistan, many Afghans had a communication problem. Almost everything was in English, including signs in offices, shops and hospitals. Very few Afghans studied English in school. English was also important to get a job. Most offices work was in English. Classes in most schools are conducted in English.
AWEC was open to all Afghan women, especially those who have not had educational opportunities. We had literacy Classes in Dari, which is one of our national languages.
AWEC offer a range of activities at the Centre. There were some women who want to learn practical skills, like sewing, to give them independence. A systematic way of tailoring is taught including making clothes for themselves and children. After graduation, many have started their own tailoring schemes.AWEC has written a book about tailoring, which is used was used in our classes as well as by women who cannot come to the Centre, as guide.
Networking for Employment
Many women came to our Centre, for exchanging information. People who need someone post job announcements. Those who need work, came to look for jobs. We also give information about services such as availability of Afghan doctors.
This was very special class, that we have developed at AWEC. We want women to understand their rights within the context of Islamic Studies. A group of young women teachers have developed their own materials and ways of teaching.